I’ve grown a lot since I first started my blogging. No, sadly not in actual height (*sigh*), but I have made a lot of improvements in my writing ability, my photography, and most of all, my Pinterest graphics.
Oh goodness, I can tell you stories about my early Pinterest graphics. They were a wreck.
To put it simply, I had no idea what I was doing. My designs consisted of throwing some commonly used stock photos into a Pinterest-sized template, placing a faded yellow box over it, and then inserting some text that you could barely read.
(*whips out glasses and squints at screen*)
To be fair, I was pretty proud of those graphics back then, but both me and my blog have learned a lot in the (almost) two years since I started blogging. Nowadays, I wouldn’t even consider using my old designs. After all, I was barely getting any traffic with them!
It was a slow progression, but Pinterest my graphics steadily improved as I continued blogging; I switched to deeper colors, found better photos, and even changed up the fonts I used. But it wasn’t until about a year into blogging that I began making most dramatic changes in my Pinterest graphics and suddenly something happened…
My traffic doubled.
At first I thought it was just a rare fluctuation. That had happened a few times before due to a pin going “viral” for a day or two, before dropping in traffic once again. This time was different though. Instead of the traffic dropping back down, it began to steadily grow. And it continued to grow as I kept producing this new set of graphics for all of my previous posts. It wasn’t until then that I realized how much power was held purely in the design.
That was the moment when I began paying much more attention to my graphics. I recognized that a blog post could be great, but if the graphic didn’t attract any visitors (especially on Pinterest), then nobody would ever see it. It would just be a waste of my time.
So how did I create a Pinterest graphic that was sure to attract readers–both old and new–to the blog?
The answer? By following these steps:
1) Identify the Key Elements of your Brand
Congratulations, if you’ve started a blog, you’ve started a brand. Now you just need to identify the elements that make up your brand.
Easier said than done, right?
The first thing you’ll need to decide on is your “niche”, or in some cases, niches. (Although some bloggers will argue that you don’t need a niche, and if you decide not to have one, that’s cool too.)
For example, my blog focuses on Travel, Blogging, and College. Although it may take some time to develop, you’ll also want to consider your writing voice (the personality your blog will have), your color scheme, and the fonts you’ll want to use.
So how does this relate to a Pinterest graphic? Simple. You Pinterest graphics are the visual brand of your blog. You’ll need a graphic that people can identify as you, whether it’s your colors, pictures, fonts, or more. If you can create a Pinterest graphic that people will immediately know is from your blog, then you’ve achieved creating an on-brand graphic.
For example, before re-branding my blog, my blog’s focus color was always been a very light, pastel yellow. However, it’s often used as more of an accent color, with white and black often being the dominating colors in my graphics. My graphics also alternated between lines of small and big text (to emphasize the focus words). From these two elements, people can identify a Pinterest graphic as originating from my blog, whether they’ve seen that exact graphic before or not.
Now that I’ve re-branded, my blog’s focus color is pink and coordinates with the pastel-look I apply to any photos I use. Additionally, my Pinterest graphics now consist of using a curly, feminine font with a white, “torn paper” look brush stroke behind the words that I apply on Photoshop.
Here’s a list of brand elements to consider:
Niche: A niche can help lend some ideas to your blog’s graphics, so be sure to brainstorm some ideas around it. You can look to see what some other blogs in your niche are doing in terms of branding, and you can use them for inspiration or choose to do the opposite so you stand out.
Font: Believe it or not, fonts can be considered an art in themselves, so carefully consider which ones align with your brand. Curly and artsy? Or stiff and precise? Playful and carefree? Or rigid and strict? Each one gives a potential reader coming to your blog a preconceived notion about what to expect, so choose carefully.
Color(s): If you haven’t picked out a color for your blog yet, I recommend you to look at color psychology first. People react to colors in different ways, and that can affect a visitor’s experience with your blog. For example, my blog’s old focus color was a light yellow, but it didn’t do well as the main color in any graphic. (Believe me, I’ve tried.) So instead I often used it as an accent color in addition to white, black, and/or gray. Because of this, I got a better interaction with my Pinterest graphics and my blog.
Graphics: Just like font and color, the style of graphics you use can alter a potential visitor’s perception of your blog. Are your graphics dark and gloomy? Technical and scientific? Homey and warm? Choose graphics that line up with your brand, and it can instantly make a difference.
Design: We’re going to talk more about design later on, but it is something that you’ll want to go ahead and start considering, as this is where everything pulls together to create your Pinterest graphic. Just start thinking about it in terms of layout, size, focal points, etc.
2) Reference Pinterest and Canva for Design Ideas
3) Identify Elements You Love/Hate from Other Designs
Coming up with a design for a Pinterest graphic is tough, especially if you’re a beginner. After all, there are sooooo many designs out there, and you don’t want to copy any one else. (At least, I hope you don’t want to.)
Instead, refer to Pinterest and Canva for inspiration, rather than plagiarism. Spend some time scrolling through people’s pins and look at how they designed them. What do you like about them? What do you hate about them? What are some elements that you think could be improved? Write these down, and then brainstorm some of your own ideas, too. If there’s something that wouldn’t fit with your brand, figure out a way to change it so it does. Maybe even visit a few of the websites to see how a blog channels it’s brand through the design of it’s Pinterest graphics. By identifying these elements in other graphics, you’ll not only brainstorm your own ideas, but you’ll so get a better vision of your brand.
4) Sketch Out Your Ideas
Now that you’ve completed your list it’s time to sketch out your ideas. Yes, I said sketch. It’s not time to hop onto your design program quite yet. 😉
For example, with the previous design of my Pinterest graphic, I identified that I could no longer have yellow as the primary color of my pin. It just wasn’t working. However, I still needed to incorporate it so that it was on-brand with the rest of my (pre-re-branded) blog. I decided to make it the accent color in the border, which worked out great! Not only did it continue to incorporate the color scheme of my blog, but it added in another element that I had identified as something I loved from other Pinterest graphics: a border.
Another element that I loved from other Pinterest graphics was including the category title in the Pinterest graphic itself. (Such as College, Travel, Lifestyle, Blogging, etc.) However, it my new design it wasn’t as simple as just adding at the top, like other Pinterest graphics did. Not only did I not want to copy them, but it didn’t fit in with my current idea of having a smaller border and text box inside of a larger picture. (It’ll make more sense in the slider down below.) That’s when I realized I could use a small box design at the top and bottom of the graphic, where I could put the category and my website address.
After sketching out this idea, I put it altogether in a cohesive graphic. Just to show you a side-by-side comparison of how the former Pinterest graphic compared with the new one, here’s an idea:
And again, how the second design compares to my current design!
5) Decide Which Platform You’ll Use to Create Graphics
Here comes the hard part: which platform will you use to create graphics?
The two platforms that I hear of the most are Canva and Photoshop. Canva is a great tool to start out with. In fact, even with my Photoshop subscription, I still do create some graphics on Canva because of how easy-to-use and convenient it is!
For those of you not familiar with Canva, it is essentially a drag-and-drop builder that makes it easy to altar colors, graphics, fonts, and more. After creating a basic design, all you have to do is altar the text and photo for each blog post you write, which is what I absolutely love about it.
Canva also gives you the ability to upload your own fonts, which means you can diversify your blog from the commonly-used fonts on the platform. One of the reasons I actually changed my blog’s Pinterest graphics was because too many people were using the same pre-installed fonts that I was, which meant my graphics weren’t standing out as much in a crowd. However, by installing your own fonts, you won’t have to worry about this as much!
Canva also offers a variety photos and illustrations you can use in your designs, and even pre-created templates to fit your needs! However, some of them do come at a small fee, but I’ve been using Canva for almost 2 years and I’ve never felt the need to use one of their paid graphics or templates. After all, it’s so easy to create my own!
Similarly, I have also started using Photoshop to begin creating my blog post graphics, especially since re-branding the blog. Although Photoshop can be quite complex and the layout is not as user-friendly compared to Canva (especially for a newbie), the tool in itself is a lot more powerful, and there are many more opportunities to customize your graphics is ways that are not available on Canva. For example, the use of brushes, a tool that I now use in my re-branded blog graphics, is not available in Canva.
However, for those avoiding Photoshop due to the complexity of it’s layout, there’s no need to panic! You actually don’t need to know much about Photoshop to create Pinterest graphics. If you just spend a few days playing around with the tools and watching some videos when you get stuck, you’re sure to get the hang of it in no time!
6) The Longer the Pin, the Better
If you’re a seasoned blogger, you know that it’s common knowledge that longer pins do better on Pinterest. After all, they’re more likely to be seen that a shorter one! Truth be told, I won’t even re-pin a photo if it’s not the optimized size for Pinterest because I know that if I won’t notice it on my own Pinterest boards later on, I wouldn’t expect anyone else to.
I know I’m not the only one who feel this way, and sadly that means that someone is losing a lot of potential readers just based on the size of their Pinterest graphic. But like I said before, a lot of a blog’s power is reliant on the design of their graphics, and one of those factors is actually being seen.
So when it comes to creating your Pinterest graphics, make sure you go with a longer pin style. If you’re using Canva, you can select the the Pinterest-sized template, which will automatically generate a graphic to that’s pre-set at dimensions preferable for Pinterest (800 x 1200). If you’re using Photoshop, or you can input these dimensions when you create your new project.
Size is such an influential factor in creating a great graphic for Pinterest, so please do yourself a favor and make sure your Pinterest graphic is big enough for everyone to see it.
7) Don’t Hide the Words
I’m not going to lie, I’ve been guilty of this in the past;:I was so wrapped up in creating a graphic that I didn’t even realize that you couldn’t see the words against the background image, and that was a problem. Anyone scrolling on Pinterest is looking for something that will catch their eye, and if they can’t even make out the words from the thumbnail image, then your graphic is going to be looked over time and time again.
That being said, don’t hide the words in your Pinterest graphics. Instead, use easy-to-read fonts, bold colors, and words large enough that they will be easy to read even if the graphic is in thumbnail view.
8) Only Use High-Quality Images
My childhood consisted of watching VCR tapes on my family’s old, huge, and extremely-pixelated television…not that I noticed it at the time. We’ve come a long way in terms of high-definition since then, and we’ve become a society that admires that to the point that blurry, pixelated images can be ignored and even shunned.
So when it comes to creating a Pinterest graphic, only use clear, high-quality images; believe me, if you use anything else, it’s not going to get re-pinned. If the image or even the Pinterest graphic itself is blurry, it’s going to give you and your blog less validity. Fewer people are going to visit it, and that’s something that neither of us want.
So where can you find high-quality images? Luckily, there’s an abundance of places.
The first is to take your own pictures with a good camera. You can search Pinterest for ideas and get together with a friend to do a photo shoot, or do a series of flat-lays and lifestyle images in your own house; this means that not only are your photos custom to your blog, but you won’t have to worry about others having the same stock photo or image copyright and licensing.
There are also plenty of website that offer free stock photos, both free and paid versions. My personal favorite is Ivory Mix. She offers so many photos for free by signing up with your email, with new ones being added every month. You can also purchase additional photo packs or sign up for her stock photo membership if you would like more options.
However, if you choose to go for the stock photos, make sure that you read all the terms and conditions on how those photos can be used. Just because they’re “free” doesn’t mean that you can use them however you want.
9) Never Leave Out Your Website’s URL
A big no-no of creating a Pinterest graphic is leaving out your website’s address. Having your website’s address listed on your Pinterest graphic not only designates the graphic as yours (in case someone steals it, which has unfortunately happened to me before on multiple occasions), but it also helps to communicate what site it’s coming from just in case people aren’t familiar with or don’t recognize the brand elements in your pin. This is especially true if you’re changing the design of your Pinterest graphics, because readers following you on Pinterest may not immediately recognize your new Pinterest graphic designs.
However, having your blog’s address on there can also draw readers just based on that fact alone. Sometimes the design of a Pinterest pin may not immediately attract me, but if I see the URL and recognize that it’s from one of my favorite blogs, you better believe I’m going to click it and read the post anyway!
On the flip side, excluding your website’s URL can actually push me away. Without clicking on the pin for details, I have no clue what website I’m going to, and that helps give a pin validity. For all I know, I’ve already read that article and it’s just a new pin design, but I won’t know that if the website address isn’t on there.
10) Put it All Together to Create the Perfect Pinterest Graphic for Your Brand
Now that you’ve learned how to create the perfect Pinterest graphic, it’s time to put everything together and actually create it. Identify your brand’s key elements, search for inspiration and brainstorm ideas, sketch them out, and more. You have all the tools you need to put it all together into a graphic that will highlight your blog’s character and your new design ability. Remember to consider the elements and principles of design. (I know, you thought you left that all that behind in elementary school art class!) Things like visual weight and focal point can have a huge effect on the final product of your graphic, so be sure you take that into consideration during the design process. But before you know it, you’ll have everything put together into a Pinterest graphic that both you and your readers will love.
Designing the perfect Pinterest graphic can be challenging at times, but it only takes a few foolproof steps to create one that is perfect for your blog. For more blogging tips, be sure to check out the “Blogging” category, and follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!